Young Earth Creationism and Me

Realizing that Young Earth Creationism (YEC) was wrong was the first step on my journey out of my parents’ beliefs. My parents made YEC the center of their beliefs, and taught me that everything else rests upon it. I studied YEC in detail beginning when I was about twelve, and I was convinced of its truth and of the falsehood of evolution. When I came to college, however, I engaged in debate on this topic with other students I knew. I was convinced I could convert them into Young Earth Creationists, because I was convinced my position was right. But I found over time that my arguments were either flawed or flat out wrong. After months and months of this, I finally admitted that I had been wrong.

Understanding how wrong my parents were on this issue, an issue they had made center stone of their beliefs, made me realize that I had to question and rethink everything that they had ever taught me. Every belief was suspect and I had to start from scratch. That started my journey out of Christian Patriarchy and fundamentalist Christianity.

And so I offer this post, which is an explanation of why I changed my mind on this issue. I feel like I owe you an explanation. I’m going to give you a list of points that were key in making me realize I needed to rethink this issue, and I will finish with a list of links for future research. Please don’t think I am telling you what to believe. Instead, I am merely sharing my experiences and epiphanies and asking you to keep an open mind and be willing to do further research.

Introduction. First of all, my parents’ way of seeing scientists as some sort of conspiracy was wrong. Science is about looking at the evidence around us and then trying to form models to explain what we see. Scientists are after truth, not any specific agenda. There is no grand conspiracy. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can trust that scientists have some idea of what they’re talking about. After all, they’ve studied their field for their entire lives, and let me tell you, grad school is tough. But you don’t have to simply trust the scientists on this issue, you can also look at the evidence and arguments yourself. It’s not like the scientists are trying to hide something or like they are putting forward a theory with no evidence to support it. For every supposed “hole” in the theory of evolution put forward by Young Earth Creationists (i.e., the rock layers in the Grand Canyon are out of order, the flagellum is irreducibly complex, etc.), scientists have an answer (which of course is the part creationists leaders don’t tell their followers). The reality is that there is tons and tons of evidence, and it is all on the side of evolution. You know how they say evolution is a “theory”? Well, so is gravity. Scientific theories mean something. If something is a scientific theory it means that it is the best explanation we have for the evidence, and that it has never been contradicted.

One more thing before we get started. My parents taught me that evolution and Christianity are not compatible. I found, though, when I left the YEC camp, that they actually are. In fact Catholics and mainline Protestants accept the scientific theory of evolution. They believe that God used evolution as a tool to create the world, watching the process unfold and guiding where needed. This is calledtheistic evolution. Similarly, there are evolutionary scientistswho also believe in God. Christianity and evolution are indeed compatible, and I think that this is important to remember. Young Earth Creationism is the idea that the earth was created in six days less than 10,000 years ago. The most common figure put forward based on Old Testament chronologies and genealogies is that the earth was created in 4004 B.C.E. According to YEC, the whole earth was destroyed in a global flood, generally put around 2300 B.C.E. It was this global flood that laid down all the rock layers and buried all the fossils. This is called “flood geology.” As a popular YEC song explains, “If there really was a worldwide flood, what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth.” If the YEC hypothesis is correct, this is what we should see. Except that it’s not.

1. Rock Layers and Water. Flood geology holds that all the rock layers were laid down by water. They weren’t. Many of the layers throughout the geological column were laid down in desert conditions or show evidence of natural wind erosion. These layers simply could not have been laid down by a global flood. Similarly, there are animal burrows and nesting areas in numerous of the rock layers supposedly laid down by the flood. There are layers throughout the geological column that show evidence of animals living on them in calm and peace and most definitely in the open air. There are even layers throughout the geologic column that show evidence of volcanic eruptions occurring over long periods of time and in the open air. There is absolutely no way one could look at those rock layers and think they were all laid down by water. This I think was the most important point for me in my realization that YEC was wrong. If YEC was correct, the rock layers would be clearly laid down by water. They aren’t. They are clearly laid down not by water.

2. Rock Layers and Order. Now if these layers were laid down by the flood, we would not only expect them to show evidence of being laid down by water but also to show evidence of catastrophic flood conditions, with the fossils and plants and pollen all jumbled together. You wouldn’t expect the fossils to be neatly in order or for the pollen to sort itself into specific layers.But that is exactly what you find. When we look at all the rock layers from way back when, pollen for each type of plant is only found within the layer with that given plant. There is not a single grain of pollen out of order. And it’s the same for everything else. Plants from a given layer are only in that layer, animals from a given layer are only in that layer, etc. When geneticist and biologist J. B. S. Haldane was asked what would disprove evolution, he said “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian era.” The point is that if it had all been laid down by a flood, you should expect to find things like, say, cows and dinosaurs mixed up together, or pollen spread throughout. But you don’t. At all. The layers don’t show any evidence of having been laid down by a global flood, and this is incredibly important.

3. Problems with Noah’s Ark. But there are even more problems with a global flood, and they have to do with the idea of Noah’s ark. I was taught that each animal and person on the ark had tons of genetic diversity, and that that is how we’ve ended up with all of the diversity we see today in spite of the fact that the ark contained only two of each kind.Except that that’s not how genetics works. It just doesn’t. When you take two individuals from a given population and breed them and then their decedents, etc, you end up losing huge amounts of diversity, and there is literally no way around this. It’s called theFounder Effect. There are more questions, too. How did all the diseases survive the flood? Were Noah and his family really carrying all of them? How about STDs? That must have sucked. How about animal diseases? Were all the animals they took sick? What did the animals eat when they got off the ark? There were no plants for the herbivores to eat, and if the carnivores ate something they’d eliminate a species right there.And the problems go on and on.

4. Timeline and Age of the Earth. While creationists differ on whether the earth was created 6,000 years ago or as much as 10,000 years ago, I was taught that, based on a literal reading of Old Testament genealogies, the earth was created in exactly 4004 B.C.E. There is a problem with this timeline, though. You see, we actually know of civilizations that existed before the flood supposedly occurred and continued to exist without break. As I was taught, the flood supposedly occurred around2300 B.C.E. This means that there should be no evidence of human civilization prior to 2300 B.C.E. (the flood would have destroyed all previous evidence). The reality is that we have evidence of the Sumerians and the Egyptians going back as far as3500 B.C.E. This means that the global flood timeline is totally off. This doesn’t even begin to address the age of the earth as indicated by geology. Simply put, this planet appears to beold, reallyold. Why would the earth appear so old if it was only created 6,000 years ago?

5. Ape and Human Skulls. Next, I was always taught growing up that any skulls that were found and proclaimed “missing links” were either humans or apes, and not missing links at all. Yet strangely, as i began to research the issue I found thatcreationists disagree on whether some of the skulls were human skulls or ape skulls; as in, some creationists say a given skull was an ape skull, and others say it was a human skull. Huh. Sounds to me then like it must have been something in between!

6. Missing Links. While we’re on the topic of missing links, let me say this: archeologists have found tens of thousands of missing links. I was taught growing up that there are no missing links or transitional fossils. This is, quite simply, a blatant lie. For example, there aredinosaurs with feathers andeverything in between. And that is only the beginning. Scientists have found so many “missing links” that they have laid them out in entiresequences of evolutionary development. The reality is that the “missing links” aren’t actually aren’t actually “missing” at all. Indeed, every fossil ever dug up fits into the general pattern predicted by the theory of evolution. Not a single one is out of place. The theory of evolution is far from unsubstantiated.

7. Vestigial Organs and Bad Design. Finally, there is the whole issue ofvestigial organs. Did you know that whales have hip bones? Whales and dolphins were originally land animals and then moved back into the water. That explains why, unlike fish, whales and dolphins are mammals, being warm blooded, breathing air, and having live young, and this is also why both have hip bones and small undeveloped hind legs that they don’t use. The evidence of these creatures’ evolution is clear. And this is only one example of many. For example,pythons have leftover leg bones. A similar point is that many animals actually show evidence of very bad design. Ostriches for example have hollow bones like other birds, but as land animals have no need for them. This makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective. Giraffes have a particular nerve called the vagus nerve that loops from the voice box around all the way down the neck, around the heart, and back up to the brain. This is extremely inefficient and not beneficial in the least, but it makes sense given that the nerve almost certainly developed before the giraffe’s neck has become long. And these are only a few examples among many.

8. Science Increases in Precision. One argument I heard against evolution is that the science is constantly changing and that accepted “theories” are constantly being changed. This deserves some clarification. Yes, the science changes with new information and research, but the topics being debated today are not whether evolution occurred (this is so well attested that it is considered settled fact), but rather how it occurred. Let me give you an example. Last year Science Daily ran an article on bird evolution that reported the following: “A new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides yet more evidence that birds did not descend from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs, experts say, and continues to challenge decades of accepted theories about the evolution of flight.” Ah ha, the creationists say. You see! They were wrong! Birds did not descend from dinosaurs! Evolution is wrong, young earth creationism is right! But the reality is that when creationists say this kind of thing they are twisting both the article and the scientific find.

The article continues as follows: “The weight of the evidence is now suggesting that not only did birds not descend from dinosaurs, Ruben said, but that some species now believed to be dinosaurs may have descended from birds.” You see? The question is not whether dinosaurs and birds evolved, and it’s not even whether they are related. The question is how this took place. Any scientific debate over evolution today centers over how it occurred, not over whether it occurred. Let me give an even more recent example from last month. A new transitional fossil between dinosaurs and birds was discovered, leading to scientists suggesting that Archaeopteryx should be reclassified as a birdlike dinosaur rather than an actual link between dinosaurs and birds.

The creationists naturally jumped up to say “Science Stunner! Missing Link for 150 Years and Now It Isn’t?” But the reality was that they werecompletely misunderstanding both the discovery and the science. The reclassification of Archaeopteryx is not a failure of evolutionary science, but rather a sign that this science is becoming more carefully defined. The relationship between dinosaurs and birds was not in question (in fact, the new transitional fossil discovered added to a growing list of links between the two), merely the classification of a single fossil. While scientists had thought Archaeopteryx was an ancestor of modern birds, they now believe that it was actually a cousin of modern birds. Furthermore, this classification was changed based on increased information and evidence about how dinosaur-bird evolution occurred. And you know what else is interesting? While the creationists are today crowing about how “Archeopteryx is just a dinosaur!” (albeit one with feathers), they had originally argued that it wasjust a bird. Huh. Now that’s interesting.

9. Deceptive Quote Mining. Essentially every time creationists quote a scientists saying that evolution has problems, they are actually deceptively editing the quote. For example, you may have heard creationists mention the following quote from Charles Darwin to prove that even he did not believe in evolution: “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.” This quote is accurate.It is simply not complete.

Here is the rest of the quote: “Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.” And creationistsare very very good at distorting scientists quotes in this way.

So really, any time creationists bring up a quote of a famous scientist saying evolution is flawed, you really can’t assume that that scientist actually meant or really even said what the creationists say he did. What creationists are best at is misrepresenting both science and the views and ideas of actual scientists.

Conclusion. Now remember that this list is not exhaustive. These are just the things that first made me go “huh, something is very wrong here.” Even though I realized that Young Earth Creationism was patently false, I still wanted to learn more about the theory of evolution before I could fully trust it. Therefore I did a lot more research, and the more I read and learned the more it all lined up. I learned that every creationist argument against evolution is baseless. I found that the theory of evolution actually makes perfect sense. The truth is that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, and I encourage you to explore it for yourselves. I spent twenty years of my life thinking that evolution was a lie and that young earth creationism was the theory with the evidence behind it, but I was the one who had been lied to.

If you still think this hyperbole, let me point something out. Answers in Genesis’ own statement of faith states the following: By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Did you catch that? When they come upon scientific evidence that contradicts their fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, they simply throw it out. How anyone can think that Answers in Genesis does good science with this as a starting point is beyond me. But don’t take my word for it. Do some research for yourself. In case you’re interested, here are some helpful links:

Refutation of creationism and evidence for evolution in a searchable archive

A guide to the fallacies of creation science directed toward laypeople

An index of all creationist claims with refutations for each

An excellent article listing of fifteen main answers to creationist objections

A witty evolutionary biologist’s tour of the creation museum

A fairly academic list of major evidences for evolution

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Thanks, Libby! It's a good resource to have your links together like that. I'll add it to my bookmarks beside BioLogos.

  • Anonymous

    While the creationists are today crowing about how “Archeopteryx is just a dinosaur!” (albeit one with feathers), they had originally argued that it was just a bird. Huh. Now that’s interesting.It's like their arguments are changing through time, adapting to new circumstances and different conditions. Oh, if only there was some name I could use for the concept of changes through time!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06700181081812245514 Hermana Linda

    I admit that I don't understand everything God does or has done. It doesn't bother me because I don't expect to understand a Being who is so superior to me.

  • http://brokendaughters.wordpress.com/ brokendaughters

    "Why would the earth appear so old if it was only created 6,000 years ago?" To confuse us. He did EVERYTHING which could prove evolution to confuse us, to test our faith. He also put the "proof" for older cultures there. And the fossils. And he swirled up the layers of stones, too. To confuse and test you. Didn't you listen in your evolution class? :DJust kidding, of course. Seriously now, I think they are so eager to prove science wrong because of one simple fact: If creation is wrong – if God lied to us on the first page of the bible – then how can we trust the rest to be the literal word of God? Fundamentalism stands and falls with creationism.But, as a matter of fact, they completely deny that there are TWO reports of creation in the bible, and that they contradict each other. I just can't take them serious anymore. Especially the answers in genesis guys.I really enjoyed your article. I'm going to dig my way through the links you provided, I love everything about geology and dinosaurs!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03820077215682328240 boomSLANG

    "I admit that I don't understand everything God does or has done."As a former believer-turned-Atheist, my version of this would be, "I admit that I don't understand everything nature does or has done". The difference is, I am now curious to learn and understand nature, whereas, when I was a believer, I was pretty much incurious, and I was content thinking "God" did everything. Looking back, that was an intellectual cop-out on my part. Good article.

  • Final Anonymous

    THANK YOU for this. I've had issues with YEC becoming such a prominent feature in even conservative Christianity precisely because Christianity does not and CAN not stand on it alone. Your story confirms my worst suspicions. Thanks again.

  • lemoineau

    Brava! Excellent post!! As a former young earther, I am still learning what the general public already knows and accepts as fact. Thank you for the list of links, too.

  • Anothermous

    I think that the key realization is that the leaders and speakers of the various creationist movements are liars. Ken Ham? Liar. Michael Behe? Liar. Morris and Whitcomb? Liars.That might sound a bit strong, but hear me out. I think that if you're going to be disseminating information and arguments to a popular audience, you have a responsibility to get your facts correct, not cherrypicked, and to have not erected strawmen. If you don't, I consider you guilty of negligent dishonesty. Every single creationist leader is guilty of this.(And I'm not even touching the postmodernist agnostic sophistry coming out of Answers in Genesis. Schaeffer's single greatest crime against reason was his popularization of presuppositionalism. The leaders of Answers in Genesis are not just liars, they're anti-knowledge liars.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Anothermous – To anyone who thinks you are wrong to call those like Ken Ham liars, I would like to submit a piece of evidence. Answers in Genesis' statement of faith on its website states that "By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record." You see, Answers in Genesis throws out any scientific evidence that contradicts its fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, and it openly ADMITS this. That anyone can think that they do good science with this as a starting point is mind boggling.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    What I find interesting is that proving their views scientifically even interests them. Why not simply say "The bible says this happened and the bible is inerrant. God can do anything, including make things like what they're not, so who cares if there's scientific evidence of evolution?" This seems a lot more consistent to me than trying to marry science and biblical literalism and make them fit. You can't have it both ways.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13505223192638796754 Dustin

    Great post. -Dustin, The Evolving Scientist

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    @PetticoatThat's pretty much what this means,isn't it?"By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record." :P

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    In contrast to that quote from Answers in Genesis' statement of faith, Catholics believe that God reveals himself through nature as well as through the Bible, so when something in nature contradicts something in the Bible, Catholic theologians hold that it is the human interpretation of the Bible that must be flawed, rather than the science, because God does not lie. This is one thing I liked about Catholicism. :)

  • Anothermous

    Petticoat Philosopher-I tend to think that creationism is a form of syncretism. To many non-scientists, science (or things called "science") are as mythological as religion. We think that science makes our modern technology go, but primitive farmers thought their sacrifices made the rains come and yells made eclipses end.So when modern science came along, with challenges to traditional religious beliefs, it only made sense for traditional religious beliefs to adopt some of what they perceived as the mythology of science. It didn't hurt that science was highly respected — being "scientific" was the hallmark of newness and modernity and technological advancement.If creationism was "scientific", it must be new, advanced, modern, proven, good, true. (That's why pseudoscience is so popular, why Deepak Chopra actually manages to get on Oprah and rake in gullible people's cash.) That didn't hurt it at all: people who desperately wanted their traditional religious beliefs to be true, who perceived themselves as under attack from modern secularism (communism, liberalism, humanism …), but who had also benefited enormously from engineering and scientific progress, latched on to "scientific" creationism.Syncretism. They adopted the veneer of science: terms, various concepts, fancy-looking research conferences and speakers using big words to awe audiences, without adopting its inquisitive, rationalist heart. (They couldn't adopt that inquisitive, empirical mindset, after all, because inquisitive empiricism is death for religion. Contrast Libby Anne's story with the comment of Hermana Linda.)shadowspring – Not quite. In practice, Answers in Genesis' presuppositionalism lets it say, "We all have the same basic observations. The difference is interpretation." So in effect, their statement avers that any interpretation of the evidence that contradicts the literality of scripture is incorrect. In other words, they accept all the evidence (and they even have a list of arguments they think creationists should stop making, usually because they attack established scientific evidence). They just have to twist that evidence to fit their preconceptions — which is what presuppositionalism is about, after all. Don't find the best explanation, find the explanation that fits what you want to be true. Self-delusion at its finest.One notable exception is their insistence that mutations cannot ever (and has not ever been observed to) increase "information" in the genome. This betrays a pretty typical creationist misunderstanding of evolution ("information" is a smelly red herring – natural selection acts on genotypes which translate to successful phenotypes, which has got nothing to do with information) and a pretty horrendous misunderstanding of information theory, I'm told. And, of course, it's not true at all. Remember: they're all liars.

  • Anonymous

    Evolutionists do have there fair share of the inexplicable. Like how did it all begin? The big bang is simply a theory that can't be tested or studied. DNA is code that contains information. Patterns can occur in nature, but they are do not contain information like DNA. How could a code be created from nothingness. There is no sound explanation that supports organized life being created out of nothing. So, aspects of both evolution and creation take a little faith believe in. I'd rather believe that I have a purpose in life and that there is a grand creator behind it. Otherwise, what is to stop me from taking off all social moral standards and becoming like the animal I evolved from?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10562805251128821984 Libby Anne

    Anonymous – You should look at some of the links I provided for answers to the questions in your first paragraph. Evolutionists actually have answers to essentially everything you ask there. I find that most creationists don't ever actually listen to what evolutionists say – they would rather simply read creation apologetics. In your second paragraph, you make it clear that you believe in creation not because of the evidence but because you would "rather believe" that there is a "grand creator behind it." You can't have it both ways – you either believe creation because of the evidence, or you choose first which you want to believe and don't care about the evidence. What you would rather believe has nothing to do with what is actually true – nothing at all. Finally, if you are really being a moral person only because you believe in God and believe that evil deeds are punished with hell, what does that say about you? The insinuation is that if you didn't have the fear of hell behind you you would be out there stealing and raping or what have you. The idea that Christians are only moral people because they fear hell, well, that's a scary thought indeed. It is actually to note that atheists are less likely to commit crime or go to jail than Christians, and that the countries with the highest percentages of atheists actually have the lowest crime rates in the world. My point is simply that it does not take faith or a belief in God to have ethical standards and morality.

  • Disillusioned ex-Homeschooler

    Great post–definitely bookmarking this one. Another thing I'd like to add is that the YEC mindset I grew up around propagated a view of scientists and the scientific community that is just flat-out wrong. Scientists were seen as this collective group who were all together in the business of propagating a great deceit.As I've come into contact with more scientists, some of whom are involved in top-echelon research, I realize that they *live* to chip away at holes in theories, or to discredit them altogether. Believe me, mainstream scientists would absolutely eat up the chance to discredit the theory of evolution if possible. That's how you make a name for yourself in science–by destroying old models and building new ones that explain the evidence better. The theory of evolution has changed over time–parts of it have been struck down, and other parts refined. Scientists work at these changes and holes with great zeal, eager to prove their predecessors wrong wherever possible. But there's a reason scientific consensus hasn't strayed from the belief that the earth is very, very old and that evolution has occurred on macro and micro levels. It's because the evidence for it is overwhelming.

  • zuma

    a)Using coolness of the earth to compute its age with the presumption that the earth would be in molten state:
    Using coolness to compute the age of the earth might not be reliable for the fact that its computation has presumed this earth could be in molten state or in other words, it could be in liquid form.
    However, the initial stage of earth could be either in solid state that would be fully or partially covered with or without water. The water might be either warm or cold and that I do not like. If the earth would be in solid state that would cover with or without water, it would not take much time for the earth to cool down. Thus, the computation of the age of the earth by means of its coolness would not be feasible since the earth might be in solid state cover with water.
    b)Benoit de Maillet (1656-1738), a French anthropologist and diplomat, measured declining sea level and arrived the conclusion that the earth would be 2 billion years.
    His computation would not be feasible since sea level could rise as shown in the website address:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/01/us-climate-sealevel-idUSBRE8600EG20120701
    The rise of sea level has caused his computation of the age of the earth to be unreliable.
    c)Radioactive dating method has been used to test the same stratum of rock and yet the same results (within the margin of error) would produce. The reason to explain this is simple. Using the same isotope to test on the same stratum of rock would produce almost the same result due to the same rock would produce the same unstable atomic nucleus of ionizing particles and electromagnetic radiation in spite of its spontaneous emission.
    The following is the list of some isotopes that are used for dating:
    Parent daughter half-life
    Samarium-147 Neodymium-143 106 billion years
    Rubidium-87 Strontium-87 50 billion years
    Uranium-238 Lead-206 4.47 billion years
    Potassium-40 Argon-40 1.3 billion years
    Uranium-235 Lead-207 704 million years
    Uranium-234 Thorium-230 80,000 years
    Carbon-14 Nitrogen-14 5,730 years
    Question has to be raised. If all the materials as mentioned above would have been created ever since the beginning of this earth, how could the scientists compute the half life of decay rate for Lead-206 from Uranium-238 to be 4.47 billion years? The reason is simply that the half life of decay rate for, let’s say, Lead-206 from Uranium-238, should be 0 if they would have been created at the same time in the very beginning. As the decay could be 0 if these materials would have been created in the very beginning, how could the Scientists be sure of its reliability and to use it to compute the age of the earth to be billion years?
    Besides, even if one material could be the transformation from another, how do the Scientists compute the figure of half life decay rate? For instance, how could the Scientist get 4.47 billion years or not 4 thousand years or others for Uranium-238 to decay to Lead-206? This half year decay rate that has been established by Scientists has pushed the age of the earth and even fossils, i.e. dinosaurs, to billion years. Whenever they use this isotope to test a rock to guess its age, it would give them billion of years since the decay rate has already set by them in the first place to push up to billion years.
    Thus, radioactive dating method is rather subjective and not accurate since the half year decay rate is indeed questionable.

    • Caravelle

      @zuma : For one thing, radioactive dating doesn’t necessarily rely on assuming there was no lead-206 to start with – look up “isochron dating”, it naturally accounts for contamination and things like that.
      As to how the half-life of isotopes with long half-lives can be measured – the half-life of Uranium 238 is how long it would take for half of a given quantity of uranium to decay to lead. This means it will take a lot less time for one-tenth of the uranium to decay that much, or one-thousandth, or one-millionth. By measuring how much uranium in a sample turned into lead after, say, one year, and two years, and three months, and so on, you can graph how fast the uranium is decaying and deduce how long it would take for half of it to decay. It helps that we actually know the mechanism of radioactive decay, so we know what things can increase or decrease it and what things can’t, and given that mechanism we know that the decay is exponential. Which we confirm by observation. And which allows us to calculate half-lives.

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  • zuma

    Let’s furnish another mathematical formula below for the computation of age of fossils and the earth that could be located at the website address http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit4/U4L31A.html :
    t = 1/delta In (1+D/P)
    where t is the age of a rock or mineral specimen, D is the number of atoms of a daughter product today, P is the number of atoms of the parent product today, ln is the natural logarithm (logarithm to base e), and delta is the appropriate decay constant.
    In order that the formula could apply for the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or the earth, the substance or objects or whatever must have established the relationship that one object must be the daughter of another. If the relationship between them could not establish to be one as parent and another as daughter, the above mathematical formula could not be used to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth.
    Let’s use Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 as examples for elaboration since scientists have linked up these two objects as parent-daughter relationship that would lead to the decay rate of 106 billion years. The following are the reasons why the computation by means of the above mathematic formula could not be used to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth:
    a)What if Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 would have been created in the very beginning and Neodymium-143 would not be the result of decaying from Samarium-147, the relationship between them to be parent and daughter could not be established. As the relationship could not be established in case if they would have been created simultaneously in the very beginning, the above mathematical formula could not apply. This is by virtue of the above formula could only be applicable when two objects have established with the parent-daughter relationship.
    b)What if Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 would be as hard as a diamond that there could be no way for them to decay, the formula could not be applicable to this condition since Both of these items could not be established to be parent-daughter relationship as one could not be the transformation from another.
    c)Even if Samarium-147 could decay, how could scientists be so firmly that it could turn up to be Neodymium-143 instead of otherwise since nobody could live billion of years to witness the end-result of transformation for Samarium-147 to be Neodymium-143? As that could be so, to comment Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 to be parent-daughter relationship and to use them to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth would lead to wrong age since they could have no relationship between them in the first place.
    d)What if Samarium-147 could decay to Neodymium-143 and yet the decay rate could not be established to be billion of years instead, it could only be a few thousand years, it would certainly affect the figure that has to be used for delta. This is by virtue of the unreliable decay rate would affect the decay constant figure that has to be used in the formula above. As the unreliable decay rate of the above substance would affect the decay constant to be used in the formula above, the end-result of the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or the earth would not be reliable.
    As it is hard to jump into the conclusion that one material or substance or whatever could be the daughter of another, this makes the computation to be unreliable and it is irrational to use radioactive dating method to jump into the conclusion that the age of fossils or the earth or rocks could be in billion years.

    • Caravelle

      a) isochron dating accounts for that. Look it up.
      b) radioactive decay has nothing to do with “hardness”. And it is an observed fact that Samarium-147 does decay into Neodymium-143, at a constant rate. If that wasn’t observed we wouldn’t know the half-life, duh. So there is no “what if” about it.
      c) again, the products of Samarium-147 are observed and are always the same. We also can explain what they are from atomic theory (given certain kinds of decay result in protons or neutrons being emitted or changed into each other, and that accounts perfectly for what the daughter isotope is). No “what if” about it.
      d) the decay rate is also an observed value, which is why we have a value for it in the first place. There is no “what if the decay rate couldn’t be established” – it HAS been established.

      The only person jumping to conclusions here is you. Maybe you should learn the first thing about radioactive decay (or atomic theory) before spouting off “what ifs”. (FWIW you could go with “what if the values of the things we observe were different billions of years ago”, but the answer to that is : then radioactive dating would give inconsistent results. And they don’t)

  • zuma

    What is radiometric decay or radioactive decay? Radioactive decay is a spontaneous disintegration of a radionuclide accompanied by the emission of ionizing radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.
    Some might argue that radiometric decay could not cause any decay in the rocks or substance or etc.. If radiometric decay could not cause any influence upon the rock or substance. The parent isotope, such as, Rubidium-87, could still remain to be Rubidium-87 after 50 billion years, instead of turning up to be Strontium-87 (daughter). As the parent isotope, such as Rubidium-87, would turn up to be Strontium-87, in 50 billion years later, it implies that there would be a change of quality as a result of the influence of radioactive decay.
    Do environmental factors have any influence upon radiometric decay? Yes, there is. If environmental factors could not have any influence upon radiometric decay, there should not be any reason for scientists to assume that the half year decay rate from Parent isotopes to Daughter to be constant in the first place.
    The following are the number of websites that have indicated that environmental factors could alter radioactive decay rate despite the assumption that has been established through radiometric dating method to be constant and unchanged:
    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5076971/description.html; http://creation.com/radioactive-decay-rate-depends-on-chemical-environment; http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j14_1/j14_1_04-05.pdf; http://wavewatching.net/2012/09/01/from-the-annals-of-the-impossible-experimental-physics-edition/; http://www.dinosaurc14ages.com/decay.htm
    As the decay rate that has been assumed by scientists in the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or whatever to be in constant rate and yet the actual decay rate might not be constant as a result of the influence of environment, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in billion years would not be reliable. This is by virtue of radiometric dating method has presumed a perfection for decay rate and yet it could be accelerated in reality. As the decay rate could be accelerated, the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could never be accurate.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Samarium-147, so hard that it could resist radiometric decay that it would not cause any change of quality to turn up to be the daughter isotopes, such as, Neodymium-143, the mathematic formula that has been used to compute the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could not be applicable. This is by virtue of the objects that have been used to measure the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth have to be established to have parent-daughter relationship. Or else, insisting the use of radioactive dating method would simply give false information about the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Uranium-235, or whatever, could be so weak that any environmental factors, such as, sun, wind, Noah’s ark and whatever, could accelerate radioactive decay rate and yet it could restore to its original rate at the absence of the influence, the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified as a result of great influence from environment.
    What if the objects that have been presumed by Scientists would not have parent-daughter relationship in reality, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified through computation.
    Let’s give you an illustration. The parent isotope, Samarium-147, has found to be the daughter of Neodymium-143 just because they both emit alpha particles instead of physical witness of the transformation of Neodymium-143 from Samarium-147. What if Samarium-147 could be so hard to resist radioactive decay so much so that it could not be transformed into Neodymium-143, the insisting to place these two items together and to establish them to be parent-daughter relationship and to compute the decay rate to be 106 billion years would certainly turn up to be unreliable. What if the parent isotope, let’s say, Samarium-147, would change in quality as a result of radioactive decay, yet it would not turn up to be Neodymium-143 but other source. The insisting to establish these two isotopes to have parent-daughter relationship would falsify the computation of the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth. Anyway, nobody could live in billion of years to witness whether the isotopes, let’s say, Samarium-147, could transform into Neodymium-143. Scientists simply establish their relationship through observing the similarity of emission instead of seeing physical transformation. Thus, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in million or billion years through radiometric dating method would not be reliable.
    From the above analysis, it is irrational to conclude the earth or fossils or rocks to be in million years or billions years as a result of the uncertainty of radiometric decay rate and the questionability whether one substance could be the daughter isotope of another.

  • zuma

    Science could be used to prove the existence of God and to strongly oppose Big Bang Theory or whatever, i.e. quantum theory or etc., that supports that this universe would be created to something out of nothing.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph under the sub-title, Conservation of mass, from the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_mass:
    (The law of conservation of mass, also known as the principle of mass/matter conservation, states that the mass of an isolated system (closed to all matter and energy) will remain constant over time…The mass of an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. The law implies that mass can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles;…)
    As the phrase, the mass of an isolated system (closed to all matter and energy) will remain constant over time, is mentioned above with the phrase, mass can neither be created or destroyed, it gives the implication that mass could never be increased or reduced. If mass, such as the mass of space in this universe or air or energy or etc., could never be increased or reduced, how the Big Bang theory could play a part to cause the universe to increase. If mass could never be increased or reduced, how the universe could be formed to be something out of nothing. This is by virtue of the same amount of masses of substances or energy should have existed prior to the formation of universe in order to generate the same amount of masses of planets; space in this universe; stars; and whatever that have existed in this current and sophisticated universe in accordance to the law of conservation of mass. Unless the principle of the law of conservation of mass states that the mass could never remain constant over time since it could be reduced or increased, it is then justifiable to use it to support the ever increasing of universe through Big Bang Theory by means of the generation of additional masses of space and planets in this universe. As the law of conservation of mass states that mass will remain unchanged despite it might be transformed into another form, the mass that our universe has now must have the same amount as the mass that would have appeared prior to the formation of this universe especially mass could never be created or destroyed. Thus, the ever increasing of universe through Big Bang Theory has found contradiction with the law of conservation of mass. How could this universe be created through Big Bang Theory when it supports that the mass of the space could be generated with bigger and bigger space and yet the conservation of mass supports that mass could never be created in the first place? If the conservation of mass and energy could change, all the scientific mathematical formula would be wrong since none of the formulas could be equal especially when we talk about the change of transformation of energy from one to another or the transformation of matter from one to another, i.e. Hydrogen and oxygen turn up to be water, and etc. As scientists have proven that the mass could never change over time, how could Big Bang Theory be true then? How could this universe be created to something out of nothing if the mass will remain constant over time? Or in other words, if the world prior to the formation of this universe would be nothing, there should not be anything created. The formation of this universe would only occur if the same mass would have appeared prior to the formation of the universe.
    Even if one might argue that the same amount of energy might have existed prior to the formation of this universe so as to generate matters, i.e. earth, moon and etc.,, in this modern universe, the existence of energy implies the universe would still be created from something and that is energy instead of from nothing.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph under the sub-title, Conservation of energy, in the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy:
    (The law of conservation of energy, first formulated in the nineteenth century, is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. The total energy is said to be conserved over time. For an isolated system, this law means that energy can change its location within the system, and that it can change form within the system…but that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.)
    As the phrase, that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, is mentioned above, it certainly opposes Big Bang Theory in which something could be created out of nothing since the mass of energy that would have existed before the creation of the universe must remain constant or equal in size even after its creation. Even if one presumes that energy should have existed prior to the creation of the universe, the energy as well as its mass prior to the creation of the universe must be the same as the current universe. As the mass and energy can never be created, how could the mass of the space in this universe be created for further expansion as supported by Big Bang Theory?
    As Big Bang Theory has turned up to be unrealistic, it might turn up to be irrational to compute the age of the earth or the universe since the creation itself is questionable. If that could be so, the computation of the age of fossils could have problem since they might have existed permanently in the past and might not have even the beginning.
    As the mass, i.e. the space, matter, energy and etc., as well as the energy could never be created nor destroyed, and yet this universe could be created in the very beginning, it implies that something should have existed with supernatural power so much so that nothing would be impossible for him to do and this includes the creation of matter and energy in which there should be no way for it to create. Religious people call it to be God.

    • Caravelle

      … And as long as you’re learning the first thing about radioactivity and atomic theory you might want to learn what the Big Bang Theory actually says. Hint : it does not say the Universe came from nothing. It does not say the mass/energy of the Universe has increased. All it says is that the Universe used to be very small and very dense and has been expanding since. It doesn’t say anything about what came before that. And if you pay attention you’ll notice that the transformation from “very small and very dense” to “big and not very dense at all” does not involve an increase or decrease in mass/energy.

      You know what breaks the law of conversation of mass ? God. By your own admission. So don’t pretend you care one whit about scientific laws when you can assume your God broke them at any point. Oh, and when you don’t bother to learn the first thing about them.

  • zuma

    Could Big Bang Theory exist in the very beginning to create something out of nothing?
    Indeed nobody has ever existed prior to the creation of this universe. Big Bang Theory is just a wild imagination from scientists that this universe would be created through it since nobody has eye-witness about its existence for the creation of this universe.
    As Big Bang Theory mentions that this universe was used to be very small and very dense in the beginning, the mass and/or energy and/or protons and/or other particles that are within tiny universe within the Big Bang Theory would turn up to have limited volume. As the mass from universe in the beginning that would work under the Big Bang theory would slowly release the mass in it, it would turn up to be big and not so dense. No matter how the mass or energy or particle, that would be released from this tiny universe, would be working under the Big Bang Theory, there would come to a time that nothing would be left in it as a result of the entire releasing of mass to its surrounding. Thus, it would come to a time that the universe would not keep on expanding since the thing that works on Big Bang Theory has released all its mass to its surrounding. How could Big Bang Theory support that this universe keeps on expanding as if that the mass of space could keep on producing without ceasing.
    As mass could never be created by itself, the total mass of matter and/or energy and/or particles and/or protons that would have contained in the thing that would generate Big Bang Theory would have the same mass as the current and sophisticated universe since the mass could never be created as stated in the law of conservation of mass and energy. How could this little universe that would have existed in the very beginning contain the mass as the current and sophisticated world with numerous stars, planets and etc. prior to the generation of the Big Bang Theory? When Big Bang theory mentions the universe could be very dense, could the density of the rocks among all the planets in this entire universe be lower than the density of the space or whatever in the universe that would generate Big Bang Theory? As there are more than billions of planets and/or stars in this universe and the density of rocks in each planet is higher than anything else, does this give the implication that the universe that would generate Big Bang Theory would be many times harder than rocks? If that would be the case, how could that universe be able to generate Big Bang Theory?
    Is it true that the thing that would have existed in the very beginning for the generation of Big Bang Theory could be very dense in nature? This theory seems weird in the sense that how the small little thing or so-called, universe, could be very dense. If you take a balloon to blow air on it and try to suppress its expansion so as to make the air in it to be very dense, it would explode. Thus, if the thing or the so-called, universe, that would have generated Big Bang Theory would be so dense, that thing or universe would explode itself since it is under hard pressure. If you take a box to blow in air so as to make it dense, it would reach a stage that no air could enter into the box since the air in the box has been filled up. How could it be possible for the thing or the universe that would have existed in the very beginning to be very dense so as to generate Big Bang Theory since explosion would occur within a limited space? What would have caused the thing or the so-called, universe, to be very dense in the first place?
    It is irrational to assume that the thing that would exist in the very beginning would release all its masses continuously non-stop until eternity for the fact that mass and energy could never be created under the law of conservation of mass and energy. As mass and energy could not be created by itself, how could the Big Bang Theory produce mass of space continuously as the law of conservation of mass and energy states that mass could never be created by itself? As mass and energy could not be created by itself in the thing that would have existed since the beginning, it would cease the increase in mass as all the elements that would be within the Big Bang Theory have run out till nothing is left inside of it. Yet in reality what scientists have mentioned about Big Bang Theory is the forever increasing of mass of space in this universe. The forever increasing in the space expanding gives the implication that the assumption that the thing that would have been initiated with Big Bang Theory has been proven to be wrong since how could mass or energy be created itself when the law of conservation of mass and energy mentions that mass and energy cannot be created in the first place?

    • Caravelle

      “Could Big Bang Theory exist in the very beginning to create something out of nothing?”

      That, and the whole rest of your post, seems pure word salad to me. None of your questions make the slightest bit of sense in the context of the BBT – it sounds as if you have no clue what the BBT actually says. That isn’t a huge problem; most people don’t know what the BBT says, and when discussing it I can usually identify the misconceptions at work and correct them. In your case however your questions are so confused I have no clue how you think the BBT works, and if I don’t know what mistakes you’re making I can’t correct them. I can only urge you to read a book on physics and learn for yourself what scientists actually say.

    • machintelligence

      @ zuma

      Theory is just a wild imagination from scientists that this universe would be created through it since nobody has eye-witness about its existence for the creation of this universe.

      Nonsense! I was there and saw the whole thing.
      If you intend to claim that I was not, how do you know, were you there too?

      • Caravelle

        No, zuma wasn’t there. I would have seen him. Or her.

      • machintelligence

        Caravelle, I admire (I think) your ability to continue to debate people like zuma. I quickly lose interest, then just point fingers and laugh.

  • zuma

    A very simple question to reply is how Big Bang Theory could generate mass of space forever when the law of conservation of matter states that matter or energy could never be created. If you reply that Big Bang Theory could generate more mass of space through the work of space and time, the result would turn up to be contradictory with the law of conservation of matter that states that matter and energy could never be created.

    • Ariel

      I think that you think that the Big Bang would have to continue to create mass in order to support an expanding universe. Is English perhaps not your first language? The Big Bang theory postulates that the universe was very dense and was expanding very quickly, and has been getting less dense and expanding more slowly ever since. In other words, the Big Bang was a one-time event.

    • Caravelle

      The Big Bang Theory doesn’t generate “mass of space”. Space doesn’t have mass. All the BBT really means is that things are getting further and further apart – it doesn’t say there are more things. There aren’t.

  • zuma

    Is there any mass in the space? Yes, there is.
    The following is the extract of the 2nd paragraph of the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_state, under the sub-title, Vacuum State:
    (According to present-day understanding of what is called the vacuum state or the quantum vacuum, it is “by no means a simple empty space”, and again: “it is a mistake to think of any physical vacuum as some absolutely empty void.” According to quantum mechanics, the vacuum state is not truly empty but instead contains fleeting electromagnetic waves and particles that pop into and out of existence.)
    As the phrase, vacuum state…contains fleeting electromagnetic waves and PARTICLES that pop into and out of existence, is mentioned the extract above, it implies that the space that is in vacuum state is never empty since it contains electromagnetic waves as well as particles that pop into and out of existence. Or in other words, the increase in space could cause the increase in electromagnetic waves as well as those particles that would pop into and out of existence within the space that is in vacuum state.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph of the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation, under the sub-title, Electromagnetic radiation:
    (Electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) is a form of energy emitted and absorbed by charged particles, which exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space…)
    The phrase, Electromagnetic radiation…is a form of energy and absorbed by charged particles…, as mentioned above, gives the implication that there are particles in the space that is in vacuum state. Or in other words, space that is in vacuum is never to be empty. The expansion of space implies the multiplication of particles in the space that is in vacuum state.
    The following is the extract from the 1st paragraph of the website address, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson, under the sub-title, Higgs boson:
    (The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson is predicted to exist for theoretical reasons, and may have been detected by experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. If confirmed, this detection would prove the existence of the hypothetical Higgs field—the simplest of several proposed mechanisms for the breaking of electroweak symmetry, and the means by which elementary particles acquire mass. The leading explanation is that a field exists that has non-zero strength everywhere—even in otherwise empty space—and that PARTICLES ACQUIRE MASS when interacting with this so-called Higgs field…)
    As the phrase, particles acquire mass when interacting with the so-called Higgs field, is mentioned in the above extract, it gives the implication that there is mass among particles.
    Refer to the website address, http://vixra.org/pdf/1105.0041v2.pdf, with the title, Mass of an Electromagnetic Wave., by Mark A.. Newstead and Stephen C. Newstead. It has spelt out that there is mass for electromagnetic wave.
    As there are particles as well as electromagnetic wave in the space in vacuum state and yet there is mass among particles as well as electromagnetic wave, it would come to the conclusion that the particles in space that is in vacuum state has mass. As the expansion of this universe implies the multiplication of particles as well as the increase in electromagnetic wave, the entire mass of this universe would increase simultaneously. Thus, the expansion of universe would lead to the entire increase of mass.

  • zuma

    The following is the extract from the 7th paragraph after the question, Is this universe expanding faster than the speed of light, in the website address, http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=575:
    (If we use the definition of distance given above (and only if we use this definition and no other), then the Hubble constant tells us that for every megaparsec of distance between two galaxies, the apparent speed at which the galaxies move apart from each other is greater by 71 kilometers per second….)
    As the phrase, the apparent speed at which the galaxies move apart from each other is greater by 71 kilometer per second, is mentioned above, it implies this universe would be expanding in a fast speed rather than in slow pace. As Big Bang Theory suggests the continuous expansion of this universe ever since its creation and its speed is 71 kilometers per SECOND, how could Big Bang Theory be able to generate such a huge mass of space when the law of conservation of mass and energy states that mass could not be created? Big Bang Theory is itself unreliable and contradictory.
    The following is the extract from the 3rd paragraph under the sub-title, The Big Bang, that has been spelt out in the website address, http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/cern/ideas/bang.html:
    (The universe began, scientists believe, with every speck of its energy jammed into a very tiny point. This extremely dense point exploded with unimaginable force, creating matter and propelling it outward to make the billions of galaxies of our vast universe. Astrophysicists dubbed this titanic explosion the Big Bang.)
    The phrase, The universe began…with every speck of its energy jammed into a very tiny point, as mentioned above seems irrational and illogical since how this very tiny point could hold the mass that is equivalent to the total mass of space, planets, stars, comets and etc. in this modern universe especially the law of conservation of matter and energy states that mass could not be created. Big Bang Theory is itself contradictory and unscientific.

    • Caravelle

      I am impressed zuma, I didn’t expect you actually go read up on the question and have specific comments I can address. This is excellent ! I seem to have misjudged you at least a little bit, I apologize for that.

      As the phrase, the apparent speed at which the galaxies move apart from each other is greater by 71 kilometer per second, is mentioned above, it implies this universe would be expanding in a fast speed rather than in slow pace.
      Notice the phrase specifies that for every megaparsec of distance between the two galaxies they move away at a certain speed. That is because when something expands, the speed at which two points on it move away from each other is proportional to their distance from one another. There isn’t a single speed at which everything is moving apart from each other. The 71 kilometers per second in particular concerns galaxies that are one megaparsec away from each other. That is a huge distance. If you looked at points that are a single parsec from each other the speed would be a lot less impressive.

      You can test that yourself by drawing dots on a rubber band and stretching the rubber band at an even pace. If you drew the dots far apart they’ll be moving away from each other faster than if you’d drawn them close together. You can also check that mathematically if you like.

      You are again repeating that nonsense about “mass of space”. There is no such thing, not the way you’re thinking at least, AFAIK. Consider the rubber band again. As it becomes longer it also becomes thinner. Youre not creating more rubber band when you stretch it, you’re distributing the same amount of rubber band over a longer distance, which means you have less rubber band per inch. Same thing with the Universe. The reason it becomes less dense as it expands is because energy is conserved. Having things get further and further apart from each other does NOT involve adding mass.

      Your second link sounds terrible from the quote you give. Talking about the Big Bang as if it were an explosion is incredibly misleading and it’s something science vulgarizers should stop. (the name doesn’t help, but we’re stuck with it and hey, it’s a fun name). The Big Bang wasn’t an explosion, it didn’t involve matter being crushed into a single point (for one thing it started out hyper dense, it didn’t get that way (not within the scope of the current theory at least), and for another we don’t know that there ever was a “single point”, i.e. a singularity. That’s one of the things that’s beyond the scope of the theory as it currently exists), and it didn’t involve matter being flung out into space – space itself expanded.

      The key thing to know, really the ONLY question you should ask yourself before you think of anything else about the Big Bang, is : am I picturing something outside of the Big Bang ? If you are, then everything else you think about the Big Bang will probably be wrong. The Big Bang says space itself is expanding. It’s not expanding into anything, because there’s nothing for space to be in. If you’re “in” something, then that thing is also a space ! It’s like asking what happened before time started.

    • Ariel

      Another way to visualize it is: the universe is a balloon being blown up, and all the matter in the universe is little ants crawling around on the surface. As the balloon gets bigger, the ants spread out, but a group of ants might actively try to stay together.

      The difference between ants and matter in general, of course, is that you can compress matter and have it still be matter. And I should clarify that yes, we know of matter much more dense than rocks. Neutron stars have density of something like 300,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms per cubic meter. (Earth, which is mostly rock, has a density of 5520 kg/m^3. Osmium, which is about as dense as matter gets under normal circumstances, has a density of 20,000 kg/m^3.) Quark matter is also supposed to be even denser.

      And the laws of conservation of mass and energy are out of date; we now know that you can convert mass into energy and vice versa. As I understand it, most of the mass-energy of the early universe was in fact energy; this is why we refer to conditions after the Big Bang as a hot dense state. Hot=full of energy, and in fact more energy than mass.

      Also, the universe as a whole has an extremely low density now. The nearest star to the sun is Alpha Centauri, 25,000,000,000,000 miles away. That comes out to a density of about 10^-19 kg/m^3 (about .0000000000000000001 kg/m^3). And we’re in a galaxy; the density of the universe as a whole is more like 10^-26 kg/m^3.

      • machintelligence

        @ Ariel:

        Another way to visualize it is: the universe is a balloon being blown up, and all the matter in the universe is little ants crawling around on the surface. As the balloon gets bigger, the ants spread out

        Of course this is a 2 dimensional model “expanding” in 3 dimensions. Trying to think of a 3 dimensional universe “expanding” in 4 dimensions makes my head hurt. It is hard to intuitively grasp relativistic concepts (and well nigh impossible to do so for quantum effects).

        I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.

        Richard Feynman

  • zuma

    You take a rubber as an example to elaborate your idea. The way you express seem to be correct from your point of view. However, no matter how you stretch the rubber band, there is always a limit or restriction in which the rubber band could expand and it would not go beyond it unless it breaks. The same as for this universe. If this universe would have been expanding on Big Bang Theory, there will be a time that it would stop expanding. However, Big Bang Theory supports forever expanding as if that the mass could create itself. It is in fact contradictory and illogical.

    • Ariel

      If this universe would have been expanding on Big Bang Theory, there will be a time that it would stop expanding.

      There’s no real reason why empty space has to behave the same as rubber. There’s no reason it can’t be infinitely stretchy. Also, the Big Bang theory does not imply that the universe will expand forever. Cosmologists currently see three possibilities for the eventual fate of the universe, and one of them is that the universe will expand for a while, stop, then turn around and collapse into a Big Crunch. It’s just that we haven’t gotten there yet.

      Also, the point of empty space is that there are no (or very few) particles there. Hence, very little mass.

      When I said that the law of conservation of mass was out of date, and the law of conservation of energy was out of date, I meant that both had been replaced by the idea that mass was equivalent to energy and that mass-energy was conserved. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    • Caravelle

      Zuma, I am not saying the Universe is a rubber band. I’m saying that things being carried along by an expanding substrate move apart from each other in a certain way, and that’s the way in which things are moving in the Universe, and it’s coincidentally fairly similar to points moving apart from each other on a stretching rubber band, similar enough that it can help to picture it. But not so similar that they’re the same in every way. Not even in most ways.
      You assert that the Universe will stop expanding, and that it’s like a rubber band that breaks if you stretch it too far. What is your evidence for this assertion ? What would make the expansion stop ? What’s the tensile strength of space ? How would space break ? Why ?
      (Actually it was a possibility early on, back before we knew more about the speed of expansion and the density of the Universe, that at some point the expansion would reverse resulting in a “Big Crunch”, or alternatively that the expansion would slow down over time. But it now seems the Universe isn’t dense enough for either of those scenarios, and we’re looking at ever-accelerating expansion)

  • zuma

    If the law of the conservation of mass and energy is out of date, mass could be created as well as energy, E will not be equal to mc^2 since E might have to add some more thing, such as, Mass and whatever, in order to get mc^2 as a result of the possible creation of mass.What if energy might be destroyed in the interval, E would turn up to be E – E1 (those energy that would have been destroyed) in order to achieve mc^2. As the law of the conservation of mass and energy is at work in this universe so much so the transformation of mass does not lead to any creation or damage, it turns up to be E = mc^2 in its perfect stage. Mass-energy equivalence is part of the function of the law of conservation of mass and energy.

  • zuma

    As long as there are particles, such as, protons and etc., be found in the space, it bounds to have mass.

    • Caravelle

      Particles and space aren’t the same thing. As I said twice now, the expansion of the Universe means the particles are getting further and further away from each other. It doesn’t mean new particles are added. (of course new particles are always created and destroyed in the quantum foam but that doesn’t violate conservation of energy, and it’s not what you’re talking about). When two particles become further apart, mass or energy does not get added. (there is apparently something going on with gravitational potential energy vs other kinds, the upshot of which is that the total energy of the Universe is always zero, but I don’t think you want to get into that)

  • zuma

    If the law of conservation of mass and energy is out of date, all the chemical equations cannot be established. H^2 + O might turn up to be O due to the possible destruction of Hydrogen. Or it may be that there would be a sudden creation of Nitrogen in the progress and turn up to be H^2 +O = N + H^2 + O.
    What if the law of conservation of mass and energy is out of date, the mass-energy equivalence could not established as E = mc^2 since it should add a symbol, let’s say, ?, to it in case if there would be some destruction of energy or mass or even new creaton of energy in it. So, the formula would turn up to be E = mc^2 + or – ?. What if the mass would be destroyed entirely and another source, i.e. energy, be created, E = 0 (mc^2 turn up to be 0 due to the entire destruction of mass)+ something else. What if the mass would be created 10000 times by itself, E = 10000 * mc^2.
    As energy and mass could not be created, E is certainly equal to mc^2 instead of other possibility.

    • Ariel

      The current version is that energy PLUS mass is conserved–you can turn energy into mass and mass into energy. But you can’t get mass out of nothing.

      It’s like wood burning. This looks like it destroys mass (the wood). But really, the wood all turns into ashes and smoke. Nothing is lost. The modern formulation of conservation of mass-energy is just one more thing mass can turn into.

      There are a bunch of other conservation laws, such as the law of conservation of charge. So you can have (electron)+(positron) = energy, but you can’t just have a hydrogen atom turn into energy; it would need to react with an anti-hydrogen to do that. So in H^2+O, the H^2 can’t just vanish; you’d need to bring in an anti-H^2 to get rid of it.

  • zuma

    I set the above examples to show that the law of conservation of mass and energy has to be conserved or else this world could never be predicted. Anything could happen since mass and energy could be created at the absence of law of conservation of mass and energy. As the law of conservation of mass and energy must be conserved, all formulas could turn up to be equal so E is definitely equal to MC^2.
    Now question is: How could the very tiny point in the very beginning hold the mass that is equal to the total of mass of all the planets and etc. among all the galaxies that is in this current and sophisticated world especially the law of conservation of mass and energy states that no mass and energy could be created?

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      That question had already been answered by Ariel, Caravelle and the rest, it was possible because it was in a hot condensed state. Also if there was such an obvious flaw as what you seem to imply, don’t you think they wouldn’t have realised it by now? It’s like you are trying to rediscover the wheel by making it square. Are you a highschooler or a college student?

      • zuma

        You have mentioned that the hot condensed state could generate the total mass that is equivalent to the current universe and these include more than billions of hard rock that have been used to form planets, stars and etc. in the universe. You have to bear in mind that it was only a very tiny point. How could this very tiny point be able to hold the mass of the entire universe currently? The density of the hot condensed state could not challenge the density of rock in a planet since its density is certainly many times higher than that hot condensed state. How could it be possible that this hot condensed state could hold the mass that is equivalent to the total mass of the entire world currently?

      • Caravelle

        @zuma : Why couldn’t it ? I’ve never heard of a limit on the temperature or density a small point in the Universe can attain. In fact IIRC the kinds of energies attained in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN are similar to what is thought to have existed at the time of the Big Bang (which, for those who are following, would be the very earliest seconds of the Universe’s life, not THE moment it started).

        If the Universe were tiny and all its mass concentrated into that tiny space then all of the Universe would be at that kind of temperature, not just the bit inside the LHC. Why would that be impossible ?

  • zuma

    You have mentioned that there would be very few particles in the space in the vacuum state. If there are really very few particles in the vacuum state, how could it be able to form electromagnetic wave? The biggest the space the more electromagnetic waves would lead to the increasing mass and might even lead to heavy mass ultimately if that would be possible.

  • zuma

    Despite the law of conservation of mass and energy has been replaced by energy-mass equivalence, energy-mass equivalence remains the same concept as the previous law or else E could never be equal to mc^2 since mass and energy could be created by itself or even be destroyed.
    Energy-mass equivalence remains the formula to be E = mc^2. Mass-energy allows for matter to be converted to energy. However, energy-mass equivalence does not imply that energy may be converted to matter. As that could be so, how could the energy that would be within the Big Bang Theory be able to be converted into matter then? Indeed, there is no evidence from scientists to prove that energy could be converted to matter. As energy could not be converted to matter, how could Big Bang Theory be at work in the beginning to be able to generate the same mass as currently the universe has and that is there are more than billions of planets and etc. currently?

  • zuma

    @ Ariel:

    Another way to visualize it is: the universe is a balloon being blown up, and all the matter in the universe is little ants crawling around on the surface. As the balloon gets bigger, the ants spread out

    The above could not be established as an example since the ants (objects) in a very tiny point has turned up to be that these ants (the same objects) have spread all around the place. Big Bang Theory is entirely different since it is talking about very hot dense state within a very tiny point (an object) has turn up to be billions of planets and etc. (many objects) currently. It contradicts with the law of conservation of mass and energy that states that mass and energy cannot be created. How could a very hot dense state (an object) be able to turn up to be billion of planets and etc. (many objects) when the law does not permit it? The mass-energy equivalence is the further development of the law of conservation of mass and energy and it is not to be used to supersede the old law or else all the science would turn upside down since none of the equations could be equal due to the possible creation and destruction of mass and energy. If mass-energy equivalence would be used to supersede the old law, E cannot be equal to mc^2 due to the possible creation and destruction of matter and/or energy.

    • Caravelle

      @zuma : by that logic we violate the law of conservation of mass and energy every time we make an omelet. How could several objects (eggs and other ingredients) become one object ? And then become several objects again when you split it into several servings ? How can a glass of seawater (an object) become salt crystals and water vapor (several objects) ? How can humid air condense into thousands of water droplets ?

      • Caravelle

        Shorter myself : It’s the law of conservation of energy, not conservation of objects.

      • zuma

        The total mass of omeletis is the same as the total mass of eggs and other ingredients. The total mass of seawater with a glass is the same as the total mass of salt crystal plus water vapor plus glass plus salt water.

      • Caravelle

        And the total energy of the universe now is the same as it was at 10^-6 seconds, or any other time point the Big Bang Theory describes. Look it up. So where is the problem ?

    • zuma

      You are quite creative from the way I see.

  • zuma

    If you have known the experiment that has been carried out through Large Hadron Collider at CERN, you should have known that it serves no purpose to convince the world that universe in the very hot dense could produce a mass of a huge planet. This is by virtue of we have heard of the production of matter and antimatter through it and yet none of the experiments have come to our mind that it could produce a big planet through this machine and not even a small little sand. For instance, if LHC could be so efficient to create in environment that would meet the condition that is required by Big Bang Theory, the experiment should show a creation of a planet or a small little rock instead of a tiny particle. Some might consider the existence of 6 dimensions to be at work. Why is it that the possible existence of 6 dimensions could not cause LHC to generate a piece of rock instead of tiny small particles currently when this system has generated the environment that seems to meet the condition that Big Bang Theory should be? If LHC could not create a piece of rock but small particles, how could we be sure that the very tiny point that has been assumed by scientists in Big Bang Theory in the beginning could create the mass that is equivalent to the total mass of planets and etc. in this current universe?

  • zuma

    I thought it this universe should be zero energy. Let’s assume that you are right with your figure. Consider also why the total mass that we have now is not equivalent to the total mass in the very tiny point in which Big Bang Theory would be triggered off.

  • zuma

    What if the law of conservation of mass and energy has been superseded by mass-energy equivalence, the General Relativity formula could never be established as Ruv – (1/2) guv R = (8 Pi G/c4) Tuv. This is by virtue of energy can be destroyed or created at any time when it acts with time and space and the formula would turn up to be Ruv – (1/2) guv R = (8 Pi G/c4) Tuv + or – the destruction of energy. Howabout if 50% of the energy would be destroyed during the transformation, the General Relativity formula would turn up to be Ruv – (1/2) guv R = [(8 Pi G/c4)]/2. As we know G = gravitational constant and gravitational constant has been established as {F = G (m1 m2)/(r) the power of 2, where F is the force between the masses, G is the gravitational constant, m1 is the first mass, m2 is the second mass, and r is the distance between the centre of the masses}. If substance could be destroyed in the interval, the equation would turn up to be F = G(m10)/(r)^2. What if there would be a sudden creation of m3 in the interval, F = G(m1m2m3)/[(r1)^2*(r2)^2*(r3)^2]. Note: r1 is the distance between m1 and m2 and r2 is the distance as a result of the sudden creation of m3 between m1 and m3 and r3 is the distance as a result of the sudden creation of m3 between m2 and m3. All these would alter the result of gravitational constant and have direct influence upon the equation for General Relativity. As the law of conservation of mass and energy remains in this universe, General Relativity remains unchanged at Ruv – (1/2) guv R = (8 Pi G/c4) and gravitational constant’s computation would remain at F = G (m1 m2)/(r) the power of 2.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Here’s the thing. Moses wrote his account in Hebrew, and he wrote it from the perspective of a person standing on the surface of the earth. These two facts, combined with the knowledge that the universe existed before the beginning of the creative periods, or “days,” help to defuse much of the controversy surrounding the creation account.

    The Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in scripture for arbitrarily stating that each creative day was 24 hours long.

    A careful consideration of the Genesis account reveals that events starting during one “day” continued into one or more of the following days. For example, before the first creative “day” started, light from the already existing sun was somehow prevented from reaching the earth’s surface, possibly by thick clouds. (Job 38:9) During the first “day,” this barrier began to clear, allowing diffused light to penetrate the atmosphere.

    On the second “day,” the atmosphere evidently continued to clear, creating a space between the thick clouds above and the ocean below. On the fourth “day,” the atmosphere had gradually cleared to such an extent that the sun and the moon were made to appear “in the expanse of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:14-16) In other words, from the perspective of a person on earth, the sun and moon began to be discernible. These events happened gradually.

    The Genesis account also relates that as the atmosphere continued to clear, flying creatures—including insects and membrane-winged creatures—started to appear on the fifth “day.” However, the Bible indicates that during the sixth “day,” God was still in the process of “forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens.”—Genesis 2:19.

    Clearly, the Bible’s language allows for major events during each “day,” or creative period, to have occurred gradually rather than instantly, some of them even lasting into the following creative “days.”

    In fact, at Hebrews 4:1-10 the apostle Paul indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began. This makes it evident that each creative day, or work period, was at least thousands of years in length. As A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.” – http://bit.ly/156Vanl

    Intrinsically, then, and contrary to the amphigory of some Fundamentalists, Genesis does not teach that the universe, including the earth and all living things on it, was created abruptly in the relatively recent past. Rather, the description in Genesis of the creation of the universe and the appearance of life on earth harmonizes with many recent scientific discoveries.

    Because of their philosophical beliefs, many scientists reject the Bible’s declaration that God created all things. Interestingly, however, in the ancient Bible book of Genesis, Moses wrote that the universe had a beginning and that life appeared in stages, progressively, over periods of time. How could Moses gain access to such scientifically accurate information some 3,500 years ago? There is one logical explanation. The One with the power and wisdom to create the heavens and the earth could certainly give Moses such exceedingly advanced knowledge. This gives compelling weight to the Bible’s claim that it is “inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16.

    http://bit.ly/11T5YpD

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